Is SSC lying about the Tuatara’s 316-mph speed record?

SSC made headlines earlier this month when it announced that it had set a new world record for production cars with the Tuatara. The American company revealed that its latest supercar hit an average top speed of 316 mph during a two-way run on a closed road in Nevada, taking the official record from Koenigsegg and also breaking the unofficial record of the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+, the first production car to surpass the 300-mph mark.

But famed YouTubers Shmee150 and Misha Charoudin are questioning SSC’s record-setting run and video, suggesting that the speeds shown in the onboard footage aren’t real. The company issued a follow-up statement, but it did not address the errors discovered in its videos. Should SSC run a new record-setting attempt?

What’s wrong with the SSC Tuatara’s record attempt video?

Both Shmee150 and Misha Charoudin have released videos in which they point out that SSC's video of the Tuatara hitting a top speed of 331 mph (an average 316 mph in a two-way run) is a bit sketchy.

They’re not accusing the company of faking the record, but they do uncover details that put the record under scrutiny. Using calculations based on the known distances between the set points along Nevada’s Highway 160 and using Koenigsegg’s previous record run as a benchmark, both YouTubers estimate that the Tuatara did not hit the speed SSC claims it did.

Specifically, both vloggers say that the supercar’s top speed was no higher than 280 mph. When compared to Koenigsegg’s record run of almost 278 mph, the SSC Tuatara appears to cover the same distances notably slower. They also argue that the car’s speedometer was blurred in the video, a hint that it might show a different speed than the telemetry system shown on video. It’s unclear whether there’s something wrong with the video or SSC used footage from a slower run, but both YouTubers argue that something doesn’t add up.

What did SSC had to say about it?

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Jerod Shelby, founder of SSC, released a statement following these videos, but his response doesn’t answer the specific questions Shmee and Misha Charoudin had about the record run. Shelby simply stands behind the numbers and reminds us that the record was validated by Dewetron, the company that supplied test and measurement systems.

"Here at SSC, our focus is on building hypercars that break world records [...] We’re thrilled that Dewetron has just validated the Tuatara’s record-setting run. I know it’s hard for people to wrap their minds around the idea that SSC has built a car capable of our average top speed of 316mph. The swirl of anticipation and speculation about our record has continued since we first blocked off Route 160 in Pahrump, and we don’t mind, because we have the numbers on our side," said Shelby.

Dewetron denies validating a record run for SSC

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However, shortly after this statement, Dewetron posted a statement on its official website, saying that even though it supplied SSC with measurement systems, it did not validate a record run. Actually, it seems that no employee from Dewetron was present during SSC’s test drive.

"Despite the information published on the website of SSC North America as well as on several related and non-related YouTube channels, DEWETRON did not validate any data from world record attempts or preceding tests. Nobody of DEWETRON’s employees was present during the test drive or involved in the associated preparations," the statement signed by Dewetron CPO Christoph Wiedner reads.

Is SSC’s record run fake?

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It’s difficult to tell at this point. While some details in the official video don’t add up, it seems rather irresponsible to fake a record run given what kind of attention comes with such a benchmark. The fact that SSC and Dewetron have different statements raises more questions than it answers and puts the American carmaker in a really bad position. If SSC lied about this record, it’s safe to say that the company’s reputation is pretty much ruined. It will also call into question all the things they’ve said about the Tuatara, a supercar that has yet to reach more than one customer.

Hopefully SSC will soon release a new statement that addresses the anomalies uncovered in the YouTube videos and confirms whether or not the record run was actually validated by a company or any other entity. A revised video that doesn’t raise as many questions would be nice, too. Or maybe SSC should just run the record attempt again, this time around with better evidence and proper validation.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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